As September comes to a close, I find myself settling into fall. It always feels like coming home. The stifling heat and biting insects have gone. The afternoon sunshine invites a cup of tea, and the cool evenings welcome blankets and silk scarves.
September is slowly becoming one of my favorite months of the year and leads into several months of celebrations and beauty.
What's bringing me joy:
1.) New strings on my guitar (thanks to my dad for stringing) - the shiny new strings and fresh clean sound is a welcome break from the old strings (one broken) that lingered for many months longer than were lovely to play.
2.) Apples. I've never understood buying apples in April, either trucked in from far away or, more likely, refrigerated since the fall. It's finally apple season. Apple picking, drying, saucing, canning, eating, peeler/slicer/corers, and trips to the orchard.
3.) After Apple Picking by Robert Frost
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and disappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.
My grandmother once told me she can remember hearing Robert Frost read this poem aloud, when my grandfather was at Bread Loaf one summer, and Frost's emphasis: "I am done with apple-picking now."
These memories (and now my memories of her relating her memories) are treasures to my soul.
4.) Wooden bowls from Sam Sherer
Every year I get a new bowl or two from Sam during our visit to the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival
This year there were three small snack sized bowls that made it home with us. Each is a treasure all in it's own and together they are simply heavenly!
5.) A new painting finding its way home.
6.) Tea, squash, pumpkins, beautiful popcorn, and fall.
Here's what's challenging me at present:
7.) SOMEBODY turned two. And ohhhhhhh is she TWO.
Our elder daughter has always been a high needs, sensitive child. Our younger has always been fairly easy, falling asleep on my shoulder before I could get her to the bed to put her down. Robust when she falls, and a contented soul.
While still dealing with the other in the throes of toddlerhood (although I hear the four is a really pleasant age), I feel pulled in all directions when the two-ness strikes. She deserves just as much chance to test boundaries and feel the safety of our love and structure. However, sometimes I just feel like too little butter spread over too much toast.
8.) Too much at once:
In the past week we've had one extra long work work day, one fall festival, two birthday parties (one an hour an a half away in the afternoon), a family visit, two sick days (while telecommuting, that should have been four) as well as our usual weekly schedule, all with one car.
And finally, what I'm looking forward to in the coming weeks:
9.) Preserving more of the harvest. Between putting up the extras from our farmshare to picking and gleaning elsewhere (I've got my eye on a neighbor's sweet chestnut tree buried back in his thicket), I'm looking forward to putting food by for the cold months ahead.
10.) A certain husband of mine has (*GASP*) requested to take some time off after an even busier couple weeks ahead.
My head is swirling with all the lovely day trips we could go on, projects we could do, or even just enjoy being home together.
How are your days going? What is bringing you joy? What is challenging you? What are you looking forward to in the coming weeks?